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St. Paul Lutheran provides game-day parking with a purpose

Glen Borrelli knew how to steer the altruism.

The late Borrelli was a faithful attendee of St. Paul Lutheran Church, where he also served on various committees designed to bring the church into the community.

This one was easy.

That’s because WVU football and basketball brings so many fans to Morgantown.

Which, in turn — or, several turns of the wheel, as it were — means they have to find a place to park.

From its perch at the corner of Baldwin Street and Patteson Drive, St. Paul’s is prime real estate for that.

Sure, the church could charge for parking and build up a pretty nice reserve.

After all, this is Morgantown on game day. Everyone charges for parking on game day.

Mr. Borrelli, though, had an idea that went way past asphalt for profit: Why not do parking with a purpose?

The church would rent out the spaces in its lot for the game, with a 4th-quarter caveat: All the money taken in wouldn’t go to the church coffers.

It would go to the community, instead.

Over the 15 or so years that Glen Borrelli’s four-wheeled ministry has been rolling, St. Paul Lutheran has been able to offer about $150,000 to various nonprofit outreach agencies across Morgantown and Monongalia County.

“Yeah, it’s probably a little bit over that,” Pastor Tony Setley said this past Friday morning. “And that’s pretty amazing.”

If he had a slight quaver to his voice, it wasn’t because of emotion.

It was an 18-degree morning, and his son, Sammy, was sled-riding — while Dad stamped his feet and watched. A fast-moving winter storm the day before dropped snow, and temperatures, across the region, and schools in Monongalia County were closed.

For the agencies that exist solely on community support, every day is tough sledding, the pastor said.

“This is something we can do,” Setley said. “You know, we’ll take in $10,000 alone for football season.”

Every December before Christmas, the parking committee meets to determine the recipients for the coming year.

For 2022, it’s Christian Help, Bartlett House, St. Ursula’s Food Pantry, Morgantown Community Kitchen, Pantry Plus More, and Campus Chapel, a stand-alone ministry on University Avenue, Setley said.

Each of the above will receive $1,500 apiece, the St. Paul pastor said, with another $1,000 going to Rock Forge Food Pantry, a longtime partner with the church.

Monday, Setley and parking committee member Larry Springer will call on Christian Help, Pantry Plus and St. Ursula’s, just so they can present the offering in person.

“This way, you aren’t just ‘dropping a check in the mail,’” Setley said.

“It’s important for us to get out to these places, so we can see the good work that’s being done,” the pastor added. “Everyone needs to do that.”

A certain initiator of it all will be riding along in spirit, he said.

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